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Information About "Animator & Pose-Maker" below...

Here are the "Instructions for the Impatient"... Drag the bones around with your mouse. Click on 'Thingy' for greater precision. Click on 'Reset view' to reset the view whenever you like. When you are done, click 'save' and copy the contents of your clipboard into a plain text (notepad) file with a '.xaf' ending. Use this file in the previewer to see your pose.

1 - Name of the currently selected bone. 2 - Joint type for the current bone. These are established by default to help you move the bones in biologically reasonable ways. There are six types: (i) Ball & socket (for example the hip joint that operates the thigh bone). This type of joint can be moved in 'trackball' fashion into any orientation. (ii) Pivot (for example the wrist joints). The joints rotate around the bone's long axis. (iii) Hinge Y and (iv) Hinge Z (elbows, knees etc.). These joints work like simple hinges. (v) Saddle (such as first knuckle joints). These are more limited than ball & socket joints, in that the bone does not rotate along its long axis, but they allow more freedom than simple hinges. (vi) Fixed. By default, the hips, clavicles and metacarpals are set to fixed, to help prevent squashed pelvises, hunched backs and skewed palms. If you really want to move them, change the joint type. Note that this is a drop-down menu, so you can change the joint type for any bone if you wish. Changing to Pivot or Hinge may be useful to rotate a bone along one axis only. See also Thingy (24). 3 - Reset all. This will delete the current keyframe. If the current keyframe is zero it will return the avatar to the default pose. If you hold shift while clicking this, it will delete all your keyframes and reset everything. 4 - Reset bone. Returns the current bone to the default position. The reset will not be saved until you click on a bone (thus allowing you to undo the reset). 5 - Reset view. Returns the view to the default position. 6 - Help. Takes you to the forum. I will try to answer questions as time allows but cannot guarantee it. My heartfelt thanks go to others who also participate there to answer doubts. 7 - Toggle zoom. This toggles the way the scene responds to mouse-movement. In the 'off' position, dragging the mouse up and down on the scene background will rotate the avatar such that you can see it from above and below. In the 'on' position, you can zoom in on the selected bone - useful for small bones like those of the hands and neck. Moreover, the bone will automatically move to the centre of the window. In both positions, dragging the mouse left-right turns the avatar around horizontally. 8 - Duration. For poses, it sets the time that the posture will last. For animations, it sets the time the animation takes to run through all 188 frames, though note that on export your xaf will by default be truncated at the last keyframe. Reducing the duration has the effect of speeding up your animation, and vice versa. 9 - Load. Opens a window for you to paste in the xaf for a pose or an animation. If you load a pose (i.e. a xaf with one keyframe) it will load into the current frame. If you load an animation, all existing keyframes will be deleted before loading the file. Note that while poses saved as xaf files in any application should load perfectly, animations saved in other applications will probably not load correctly. 10 - Save. Copies the xaf for your pose or animation to the clipboard, allowing you to paste it into a file with a '.xaf' extension. If you do not know how to make a file with a xaf extension, make a regular text file (in notepad), paste the contents in, and click on 'Save as'. When you type in the file name, put the whole thing in "inverted commas", for example "myPose.xaf". The xaf file is the one you need to see the pose/animation in the previewer. If you are making an animation (as opposed to a pose) please note: (i) You can save any keyframe as a pose by selecting it as the current frame and clicking on save while holding down the 'control' key. This feature will allow you to use the same frame in different animations. (ii) Just clicking on save will make a xaf animation that is appropriate for IMVU. However, if you wish to continue editing it another time or keep a ‘master’ copy, hold down shift while clicking on the save button. If you do not save master copies in this way, on re-loading, the animation will be stretched such that the last keyframe is number 187. 11 – Avatar. Move the bones with your mouse to create your pose or animation. Try both horizontal and vertical mouse movements, since after cumulative rotations and with different joint settings, the bone movement may not be intuitive. Change the joint type to Pivot or Hinge to rotate around one axis only or use the Thingy (24). 12 – PelvisNode. This is a special bone that rotates the entire avatar. For instance, if you need to make a pose in which the avatar is lying down, use the PelvisNode to rotate the avatar into this position. See also (18 )– Floor. 13 – Background. Drag your mouse to change your viewpoint. The viewpoint will change according to the setting you have on the Toggle zoom button (7). 14 – Play. Plays the animation. 15 – Stop. Stops the animation. 16 – Copy. This will copy a keyframe into the current frame. It is useful, for example, in animations that you wish to loop, since it is an easy way of making the first and last frames identical. 17 – Current frame. Indicates the current frame. 18 – Floor. To raise or lower your avatar, raise or lower the floor. In other words, to make a ‘lying down pose’, rotate the avatar into a horizontal position using the PelvisNode (12) and then raise the floor to make the avatar lie on it. To displace the avatar horizontally, hold down shift while dragging the floor. 19 – Keyframe zero. This is the only frame used for poses, or the first frame of an animation. 20 – Frames. There are 188 frames numbered 0 to 187, each of which can either be empty (transparent grey) or contain a pose. If it contains a pose it is a keyframe, and is marked red. A frame becomes a keyframe as soon as you move a bone in it. If you place the current frame marker in a frame that is not a keyframe, the avatar will asume an appropriate pose intermediate between the previous and next keyframes (or equal to the last keyframe is there is no next keyframe). 21 – Keyframes. Keyframes are frames which contain a pose. An animation is made up of a series of keyframes, which blend into one another on playback. 22 – Current frame marker. Shows the position of the current frame, which may or may not be a keyframe. 23 - Toggle Thingy. Shows or hides the Thingy (24). 24 - Thingy. The Thingy is useful for rotating bones. It is comprised of three rings aligned with the X, Y and Z axis of the bone. One, two or three rings may be displayed according the joint type (or no rings if the joint is set to 'Fixed'). You can click on a ring and move your mouse left-right to rotate a bone along one axis only, as an alternative to dragging your mouse on the bone directly. KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS There are a few keyboard shortcuts, which are as follows: To change the view: Shift + L - View the avatar from the Left Shift + R - View the avatar from the Right Shift + A - View the avatar from Above Shift + U - View the avatar from Underneath Shift + F - View the avatar from the Front (same as clicking 'reset view') Shift + B - View the avatar from the Back To change the joint type: Shift + X - Hinge X (or Shift + P - Pivot) Shift + Y - Hinge Y Shift + Z - Hinge Z Shift + O - Ball & socket Toggles: Shift + M - Toggle the zoom on and off Shift + T - Toggle the Thingy on and off HOW TO MAKE A POSE To make a pose, ignore the controls at the bottom of the window. Move the avatar’s bones to create the pose. Set the duration of the pose (8). Click save (10), and paste the code that's now in your clipboard into a file with a ‘.xaf’ extension. Use this file in the previewer. HOW TO MAKE AN ANIMATION Select a frame and make a pose in it to represent the form the avatar should make at that point in the animation. Do this for as many frames as you need. Hit play (14) to preview the animation. Adjust duration as necessary. When you are happy hit save (10) to copy the xaf to your clipboard. Paste it into a ‘.xaf’ file to use in the previewer. If you want to keep a ‘master’ copy of your animation for later editing, hold shift down while clicking save. QUICK GUIDE TO TRIGGERED ANIMATIONS AND POSES (i) In the previewer, derive from something (such as the Empty Clothing product). (ii) Click on the ‘Actions’ tab. (iii) In the ‘Actions’ box, click on ‘Add’. (iv) Next to where it says ‘Trigger:’ type in the trigger word. (v) Where it says ‘.xaf’, browse to your xaf file. (vi) Where it says ‘Composition’, select ‘Replace’. (vii) Activate the box that says ‘Disable Gaze’. (viii) Click 'Apply Changes'. (ix) Click the ‘Play Action’ button to preview your animation. Please see Avatar/Developer "Deliverance" for continued information and to view the POSE-SPOT TUTORIAL


How To Make A "Couples Pose"...

This sticker allows you to create poses for two IMVU avatars.

To create a couple pose you move the bones around with the mouse until you like the pose. For greater precision in your pose-making, you can experiment with activating the checkboxes at the top right.

-Body mesh (1) will display the mesh in wireframe.

-Gizmo (2) shows the Gizmo (17): three bands on the X, Y and Z axis, that allow you to rotate bones along one axis only. The PelvisNode has its own gizmo (16) for moving the avatar around - it is in the form of three arrows that appear above the avatar's head when the PelvisNode is selected.

-Centre bone (3) places the current bone in the centre of the view and keeps it there.

-Zoom (4) Moving the mouse up and down will zoom rather than rotate the view. You can always zoom by using the mousewheel.

-Free joints (5) Removes all restriction of movement on different types of joints.

While you are working on your pose, it is useful to rotate the view. Do this by clicking and dragging on the background (18). To see the avatars 'square on' from the front, back, left, right, top or bottom, press one of the 'view' buttons (6). The Hide (7) and Show (8) buttons allow you to work on just one avatar at a time (Hide hides the active avatar).

When you roll you mouse over a bone it turns yellow. If you click on it, it stays yellow, to indicate that it is selected. You can then use 'Reset bone' (9) to return that bone to its default position. If you wish to save your work to continue at some other time, click on Save (14) and Load (15) to save and load files in the native '.iaf' format.

Getting the couple pose into the Previewer Let's say you've made a couple pose, and you're happy with it:

Now it's time to export the files you need and load them into the previewer. You need to export four files: namely two XAFs, one XMF and one XSF! So here it is step-by-step:

1) Click the XAF button (11). XAF files are the ones that actually contain the poses, so you will be exporting two of them - one for the red avatar and one for the blue avatar. Do this twice, to save both Red.xaf and Blue.xaf.

2) Click the XMF button (12). This will prompt you to save a 'mesh' file containing the single plane you need to have a marker on the floor. Whenever you export the xmf file from this tool, it is exactly the same file, called floorMesh.xmf.

3) Click the XSF button (13). This will prompt you to save a 'skeleton' file - but here the word skeleton has nothing to do with the avatar skeletons per se. The XSF file is the file that ties together all the different parts of the product (i.e. the pose-spot). It also contains the information about where the handles go (the blobs you click on to make you avatar go to a spot), so you will be asked where you would like the handles to go in relation to the avatars' bodies.

Once you have the four files (by default called Red.xaf, Blue.xaf, floorMesh.xmf and skeleton.xsf) open up the previewer. If you would like to automate speech bubbles, please derive from this product, otherwise derive from the default furniture (Floor). Either way, a grey chair will appear =)

In the previewer, click on the 'Geometry' tab, and browse to your mesh file (floorMesh.xmf). Apply changes, and the chair will disappear, leaving only its shadow. If you now go to the 'Materials' tab you can 'retexture' the shadow just as you would with any other product, to make a custom marker for the ground. I have not done that here for expediency's sake.

Next, click on the 'Special' tab and browse to your skeleton file (skeleton.xsf). Apply changes. You won't see much change, expect that the handles will appear in the right places when you move your mouse near them.

Now you have to load in your poses. Go to the 'Actions' tab. - Underneath where it says 'Actions' click the 'Add' button. - In the text box marker 'trigger', type exactly stance.Red, paying attention to the capital letters. - In the box marked '# ensembles played' type the number 0. - In the red part, where it says 'skeletal animation', browse to the file Red.xaf. - Activate the 'disable gaze' check box. Once you have done this, click on 'Add' again and repeat the steps for the blue avatar. That means the trigger name must be 'stance.Blue', and the file you browse to should be 'Blue.xaf'. Apply changes. Assuming all is well, you can now click on each of the handles, and your avatar will assume the corresponding pose.

To see it in all its glory, you'll need to upload the product to the catalogue, so you can try it out with another avatar!

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